They can release non-violent offenders on summary parole with no oversight, repeal the massive numbers of newly enacted felony sentencing laws, or build new prisons.
Almost nobody within the corrections and law enforcement community sees the early release program as a good option. It has been characterized as everything from "not good public policy" by Vacaville Police Chief Richard Ward to "an act of insanity" by Kern County District Attorney Edward Jagels (Thompson, 2008). While the author reports on research that indicates the program will not increase the crime rate, most crime experts feel otherwise. Most people interviewed for the article expressed the opinion that if the criminal community knows that that they will not be sent to prison, they will have no deterrent to committing a property crime.
California is in desperate need of prison reform. The article stated that there are currently 172,000 prisoners being housed in a system that was designed for 100,000 (Thompson, 2008). Releasing just 22,000 of these inmates would allow the state to make changes in the prison and jail building program and save additional money (Thompson, 2008). While this number would not ease the current overcrowding, it may relieve what Schwarzenegger calls "the federal courts breathing down our neck" (Thompson, 2008).